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Fashionable Dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910

A deep-dive into themes, concepts and stories of fashionable women’s dress in Aotearoa New Zealand from 1840 to the early 1900s.

Te Papa Researcher: Claire Regnault, Senior Curator History

The Dominion Museum (now Te Papa) began collecting examples of colonial women’s dress in the 1950s, following a series of centennial commemorations. At the time of acquisition very little information was recorded about either the garments or the women who had worn or made them. This project aims to improve the documentation of Te Papa’s 19th century dress collection and the people associated with it, in order to interpret and contextualise the collection through a range of media. The latter includes a fully illustrated book exploring the creation, consumption, and spectacle of fashionable women’s dress in Aotearoa New Zealand from 1840 to the early 1900s.

Primary outputs: Dressed: Fashionable dress in Aotearoa New Zealand 1840 to 1910, Te Papa Press publication (May 2021), collection documentation, Feathermania exhibition (2021)

A single red boot viewed side-on with a white background

Caption

Woman's boots, circa 1890, maker unknown. Gift of Mrs P Cousins, 1965. CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Te Papa (PC001129)